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Engaging Management: Put an End to Employee Engagement (Lesson 1)


Fri Oct 26 2012


Chapter: This is the first lesson of 39 lesson-posts on engaging management based on The ASTD Management Development Handbook. This lesson is derived from Chapter 26: David Zinger, Engaging Management: Put an End to Employee Engagement (p.331 – 338)

Engaging Management: Put an End to Employee Engagement (Lesson 1)-610e0f67ff0fa6fb8a1f8ebdc9e88945b12851a3dbf6927d7e0d8a1ae4e26e12

I encourage you to purchase the handbook and use this post and future blog post lessons as guidance and stimulation for deeper study to extend you beyond knowledge and insight to engaged action management.



Over the past decade many organizations, consultancies, and managers have jumped into employee engagement. We have witnessed a strong business case paired with the desire to improve work for organizations and individuals. Yet levels of engagement are often disappointing and studies indicate the negative consequences of disengagement for productivity, profits, retention, recruitment, and employee wellbeing.

This chapter invites you to fast forward to the ending of employee engagement. Will it wither away as a management fad failing to deliver on its promises or will it be integrated into how we work and manage in the decade ahead?


How do managers transform survey results and expectations of engagement into tactical and practical practices that engage both themselves and the employees they manage? Is there capacity to get this engaging work done? One manager recently said to me at an environmental conference in Tucson, “we have gone from doing more with less to doing everything with nothing.” The biggest challenge ahead is to integrate engagement into existing practices rather than make it another extra for managers to heap on an overflowing plate of tasks.



Accept the robust invitations in this article to become an engaging manager who increases employee engagement for the benefit of the organization and all employees.


Let’s ensure employee engagement ends well. The term employee engagement was necessary as a focal point to move us toward more connected and integrated work. But ultimately, engagement is not an extra to be heaped on a manger’s long list of duties; rather in this decade management is engagement, and engagement is work (p.337).



Lisa Haneberg, the editor of the handbook, stated that this chapter was a useful albeit counterintuitive chapter in the handbook. The chapter offers you ways to move beyond employee engagement programs to creating engaging workplaces by being an engaging manager.

This chapter offers managers invitations not impositions. The twelve invitations offered range from be the employee you already are and accountability on the level to co-create work processes to energize through high-quality connections.

The chapter concludes with a poem on management that opens with the line command and control lose their seat to conversation and collaboration and ends with the statement our white space decade ahead invites us to get more from management than we ever imagined.

Can we get more from engagement than we ever imaged?

3 Invitations to Action

  1. Read the chapter carefully and capture the key ideas that fit for you and your work.

  2. Be mindful and monitor your own engagement for the next two weeks. Notice trends, be aware of when your engagement sags, and determine what you can do to be more engaged.

  3. Accept one of the twelve invitations in the chapter and make it your daily practice of management for the next 21 days.


Great hosts extend compelling invitations. Have you ever thought of yourself as a manger-host? Here is a short statement from the intriguing hostmanship website: Hostmanship is a practical philosophy that helps people to develop an inclusive culture and behaviour in organizations and places, the foundation for attracting customers, talent and partners. In a world of hyper competition where products, services and prices are becoming similar, the art of welcoming is a determining factor for real and sustainable success.

Visit the Hostmanship website to learn more about this welcoming approach to work: www.hostmanship.com.

Conversational Triggers

Conversation triggers offers you three questions to ignite engaging conversations at work. You are also welcome to use these questions to write responses to this blog post.

  • How do you define engagement?

  • What has worked well in your engagement work?

  • What role can you play a role to ensure engagement has a happy ending?

Next Lesson Post: An introduction to management developmen

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